Budgeting: The Real Cost Of Having A Baby

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There's more to having a baby than diapers and doctor's appointments. In fact, having a baby is the most expensive event an individual can experience during the childbearing years. In the United States, the average hospital stay alone will cost $3,500, but if you add delivery-related expenses, prenatal checkups, and postpartum care, that figure easily exceeds $8,800. Throw in a pregnancy complication that requires a longer hospital stay, and you're looking at an even higher tab. For couples without health insurance, this can be a financial nightmare. There are several factors that can influence how much pregnancy and giving birth will cost. The first is the type of birth. On average, vaginal births are less expensive at around $2,600 without any complications. C-sections, on the other hand, cost about $4,500. That's because a C-section is a major surgery that requires anesthesia and the presence of an anesthesiologist to administer the drug. Delivery-related complications can also result in a longer hospital stay than originally planned. Each day you stay in the hospital, you're adding to your overall bill. The cost of a single day varies by location, ranging from around $1,140 in South Dakota to over $2,960 in Oregon. A severe complication such as a premature amniotic sac rupture can require the expectant mother to check into the hospital weeks or even months before her due date. Without insurance, or even with a high deductible policy, this kind of complication can be financially devastating. Worst of all, some insurance plans don't even include maternal and newborn coverage, making it essential that couples review their insurance options before trying to get pregnant. Fortunately, expectant parents can help minimize the costs associated with pregnancy and giving birth by getting prenatal care. Most insurance policies cover at least one or two ultrasounds and the recommended prenatal checkups. Since you can easily rack up tens of thousands of dollars over nine months of pregnancy, staying on top of mom and baby's health is key to discovering complications early and helping prevent costly hospital stays. Finally, when having a baby, you will need to reevaluate your health insurance. Giving birth is an event that allows you to update your coverage as long as you do so within one month of baby's birthday. Having a baby is expensive „ there's no way around that „ but having the right insurance coverage and planning ahead for your pregnancy can help keep costs in check.